Wells Waggons founders Neville and Sadie Wells have been inducted in the National Road Transport Hall of Fame.
The pair were lured to Alice Springs, Northern Territory in late August under the pretence that friends in the industry were to be inducted.
“My mind had wandered off a little, then I heard the name Sadie and began to register,” said Sadie.
“Well here is this couple next to us laughing! Then we turn around and here’s four people standing at the back of the room that we happened to know too – they were our children.”
Colleen Hinds, Janee Billing, Kimbra Wells and Stuart Wells surprised their parents by flying up to be there for the occasion and laying low for a day until the big reveal.
“It was a bit of a shock,” said Neville, as Sadie adds: “Two shocks in succession.”
The moment was months in planning for Kimbra and Colleen who found out their parents were shortlisted in January, and even kept it from Janee to prevent from letting the surprise slip.
Wells Waggons was established in 1964 when Neville and Sadie, who owned the general store at the time, purchased a 1948 Ford to run the Marrawah to Smithton school bus service. The business gradually grew bus by bus and today runs a fleet of 25 throughout the region.
Neville’s industry expertise spans further than Circular Head too. He became a committee member of the Tasmanian Bus Association in 1968 then a board member in 1973. He was vice president in 1987, president from ’89 to ’96 and honoured with a Life Membership in 1988.
He represented the Tasmanian Bus Association on the national level from 1997 to 2003 and received the inaugural Outstanding Contribution to the Industry Award in 2005.
The pair have shared the workload over the decades but taken a backseat in more recent years to allow for Kimbra, Colleen and Stuart to take over the reigns.
Off road, Neville has been involved in the Redpa Football Club where he is a Life Member and the Rotary Club of Smithton from which he was honoured as a Paul Harris Fellow in 2003.
He has also been involved in Smithton Football Club and Smithton Gentlemen’s Club.
Meanwhile, Sadie supported the kids by joining committees for the Smithton Scouts and Smithton Girl Guides while keeping up with bus driving, bookwork and odd jobs around the business.
She is also an active member of Soroptimist International of Circular Head and Meals on Wheels.
The Wells family take to the tarmac recreationally too, with Circular Head Kart Club where Neville and Sadie are both Life Members.
Sadie and Neville Wells (centre) with children (from left) Colleen Hinds, Kimbra Wells, Janee Billing and Stuart Wells were honoured at the National Road Transport Hall of Fame in Alice Springs, Northern Territory recently.